Superficial palmar arch

Last revised by Craig Hacking on 23 Nov 2020

The superficial palmar arch originates as the terminal branch of the ulnar artery, distal to the flexor retinaculum 1. It is located superficial to the long flexor tendons of the digits and deep to the palmar aponeurosis.

The superficial palmar arch travels distally, then laterally across the metacarpals. In two-thirds of cases, it remains incomplete, forming a “hockey-stick” shape 2. In the remainder, it anastomoses with the superficial palmar branch of the radial artery and the radialis indicis artery, forming a complete arch.

The superficial palmar arch gives rise to the common palmar digital arteries. A separate branch provides a palmar digital artery to the lateral surface of the 5th digit 2.

The superficial palmar arch supplies the following structures 1:

Clinical significance

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Cases and figures

  • Figure 1: arterial supply to the hand (illustration)
    Drag here to reorder.